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All change at Westminster

1 November 2013

Both government and opposition transport teams saw big changes in October, with many new faces setting policy on the railways.

Labour’s new shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh

The Coalition’s rail minister Simon Burns resigned, with most of his job going to Stephen Hammond. However other elements of rail policy have now been carved up between two further ministers: HS2 Phase 1 goes to Robert Goodwill whilst former TfL board member Baroness Susan Kramer will be leading on HS2 Phase 2. The Lib Dem Baroness also has control of ‘rail funding and futures’.

On the Labour benches it was an even bigger change, with shadow secretary of state for transport Maria Eagle swapping briefs with former environment spokesperson Mary Creagh. Maria leaves big shoes to fill, having developed an encyclopedic knowledge of the area and an array of distinctively ‘Labour’ policies.

As MP for Wakefield, Mary Creagh has already been involved in our Keep East Coast Public campaign, most of the arguments of which are valid for all franchises. Whilst Labour has yet to establish a position on rail ownership, it is hoped that much of the very positive work completed under Maria Eagle will be retained. Sources suggest that differing views amongst senior Labour figures prevented a policy from being agreed, meaning pressure is still very much required in favour of a gradual return to public control as franchises expire.

TSSA’s former general secretary, Richard, now Lord Rosser, remains one of Labour’s shadow transport ministers in the House of Lords.

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